Tech entrepreneurs Mitch Kapor and Freada Kapor Klein have announced that Kapor Capital, the Kapor Center for Social Impact, and the Level Playing Field Institute will invest $40 million over three years in initiatives aimed at bringing more diversity to the tech startup ecosystem.
Announced at a White House Demo Day event on August 4, the funds will support initiatives aimed at boosting access to tech education and capital, as well as building strong community institutions. Initial awards include an investment of $6 million by LPFI to scale and expand its SMASH (Summer Math and Science Honors) Academy, a five-week summer STEM program that provides students from historically underrepresented groups with the training, resources, role models, and connections needed to pursue their dreams.
In addition, Kapor Capital will make direct investments totaling more than $25 million in tech startups working to close diversity gaps; at least half of those startups will have founders from groups underrepresented in tech. And the Kapor Center for Social Impact will commit $3 million a year to promoting a more diverse tech ecosystem in the Bay Area. Scheduled to open this winter in Oakland's Uptown district, the center's new building aims to be a hub for convenings, student hackathons, and mentoring and networking opportunities for underrepresented entrepreneurs.
"Genius is evenly distributed across ZIP codes. Access and opportunity are not," said Mitch Kapor, founder of the Lotus Development Corporation. "With this investment we're doubling down on tech diversity because it’s good for individuals, communities, and the economy as a whole."